NBA draft rumors: The latest buzz on teams, players, trades and more
With the 2015 NBA draft just a day away, SI.com rounds up all of the latest action from the NBA rumor mill.
The basketball world is waiting to see how the Minnesota Timberwolves, Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers handle the top three picks in a draft deep with elite prospects. Their decisions will have major implications for teams like the New York Knicks, Orlando Magic and Sacramento Kings, who also all choose in the top 10. Multiple teams are rumored to be interested in Kings center DeMarcus Cousins, and a deal could shake up draft night.
Be sure to check back for the latest news and rumors.
• No more LA in Portland?: The Blazers' trade of Nicolas Batum to the Charlotte Hornets is just the latest signal of LaMarcus Aldridge's 'likely departure' from Portland, ESPN's Marc Stein reports. While the Lakers appear to have moved passed the Dallas Mavericks for Aldridge's services, the San Antonio Spurs are still the All-Star's top destination, according to Stein.
• Demarcus Cousins trade framework exchanged. The Sacramento Kings and the Los Angeles Lakers exchanged on Wednesday the framework of a trade that would send Cousins to Los Angeles, Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski reports. The discussions could "intensify" on Thursday, according to the report. Jason Jones, the Kings beat writer for The Sacramento Bee, reached out to team executive Vlade Divac late Wednesday night.
Vlade Divac in a text when asked if the Kings are planning to trade DeMarcus Cousins: "Nope."— Jason Jones (@mr_jasonjones) June 25, 2015
• Nuggets put Gallinari in play. The Denver Nuggets have made forward Danilo Gallinari available for a trade, according to Yahoo's Marc J. Spears.
• Thunder trying to free up cap space. Oklahoma City is looking to unload at least one contract in order to free up the team's ability to retain center Enes Kanter and small forward Kyle Singler, according to Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski.
• Hornets staying active. Charlotte, in need of perimeter scoring, is reportedly acquiring Thunder guard Jeremy Lamb involving Matt Barnes's contract in a separate deal from their reported trade with the Blazers for Nicolas Batum, Charlotte Observer's Rick Bonnell reports. Barnes will not be going to Oklahoma City, according to Bonnell.
• Blazers parting ways with Nicolas Batum. Portland is finalizing a deal to send the sharpshooting forward Batum to the Hornets for forward Noah Vonleh and guard Gerald Henderson, according to Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski. Vonleh was the Hornets' ninth overall pick in last year's draft. He averaged 3.3 points per game in an injury-plagued rookie season.
• No more Phunkee Duck in Cleveland? Guard J.R. Smith has opted out of the final year of his contract worth $6.5 million with the Cavaliers, according to RealGM's Shams Charania. Don't fret, Cleveland. There's mutual interest in a return to the Cavaliers, Charania reports.
• Zeller on the move? After experiencing a solid sophomore season in the NBA, Cody Zeller is being shopped by the Charlotte Hornets, who are seeking a wing player in return after trading Lance Stephenson to the Clippers last week, according to Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski. The Hornets will have serious interest in drafting Wisconsin's Frank Kaminsky at No. 9 if Zeller gets moved.
• Houston to bring back Papanikolaou. Houston will exercise its club option on the contract of rookie forward Kostas Papanikolaou, according to ESPN's Marc Stein. The forward appeared in 43 regular-season games for the Rockets, with an average of 18.2 minutes per game.
• What's Love got to do with it? Kevin Love will have no shortage of suitors this off-season after reportedly turning down his $16.7 million player option for next season. ESPN's Marc Stein reports that the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston, and Portland are potential suitors for the former All-Star power forward should he choose to leave Cleveland, but that the Cavs were expecting Love's decision and continue to prepare to keep him.
• Boston has major designs involving Love. Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Boston could try to sell Love on joining the team alongside Portland's Robin Lopez and Washington's Paul Pierce, the latter a Celtics legend. The Clippers are reportedly working to clear cap space to acquire Pierce with a trade exception, but if Love comes to Boston, Pierce could follow. Wojnarowski adds that the Phoenix Suns could become an aggressive bidder for Love, but that Cleveland remains the front-runner.
• LeBron to let Love decide. According to Chris Haynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, LeBron won't spend more time recruiting Love to rejoin the Cavaliers after the team's Finals run. The King sees the case for his team and believes his teammate can, too.
LeBron James won't be re-recruiting Kevin Love, I'm told. He believes Love understands he can be a part of something special. It's his call.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) June 24, 2015
• David West to opt out of contract. According to Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star, Pacers power forward David West plans to opt out of his contract. His player option for the 2015-16 season is worth $12.6 million. West, 34, would become a free agent on July 1.
• No promises yet, says Karl-Anthony Towns. Towns told Yahoo's Marc Spears that contrary to many rumors, the Timberwolves have not told him that they plan to take him first overall Thursday night. Spears adds that Minnesota plans to keep their decision quiet until they make the actual pick.
• Monta Ellis could be headed east. RealGM's Shams Charania reports Ellis, who opted out of the final year of his deal with Dallas on Wednesday, "plans to discuss" a long-term contract with the Atlanta Hawks and Miami Heat.
• Mavs to pursue Danny Green? Charania also reports that Dallas is targeting Spurs free agent to-be Danny Green as a potential replacement for Ellis at shooting guard. He projects that Green could receive between $10-12 million per year on his new deal. The swingman's combination of elite three point shooting and quality defense make him attractive to teams, but Green reportedly has a "strong desire" to return to San Antonio.
• Rumblings out of Indy. Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star is reporting that the Pacers won't know the statuses of potential free agents Roy Hibbert and David West, who both hold player options, until after the draft, according to GM Kevin Pritchard, who says he has "no clue" what the veteran big men plan to do. The team is reportedly looking to take the best player available at No. 11 but is "not afraid" to trade the selection, per Pritchard. According to Buckner, the Pacers have received offers for the pick.
• Knicks zeroing in on Lyles? Frank Isola of the New York Daily News reports that upon asking Trey Lyles if he was bound for to the Knicks, his Kentucky teammates Karl-Anthony Towns and Devin Booker seemed to think so at draft availability on Wednesday in New York.
When I asked Trey Lyles if he's headed to the Knicks, his Kentucky teammates Karl Anthony Towns & Devin Booker smiled and nodded.— Frank Isola (@FisolaNYDN) June 24, 2015
• Spurs trying to move up? According to Alex Kennedy of BasketballInsiders.com, San Antonio has had talks with Oklahoma City about the No. 14 pick and is considering trading up.
• Magic deal Ridnour to Grizzlies. According to a report from Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Orlando Magic have traded backup point guard Luke Ridnour to the Memphis Grizzlies for the rights to Latvian swingman Janis Timma, a 2013 second-round pick playing overseas. Ridnour, 34, is due $2.75 million next season, which is non-guaranteed if he is waived before July 10.
• Lakers could go Russell over Okafor, still talking Cousins. SheridanHoops.com's Joe Kotoch writes that a "majority" of the Lakers front office prefers Ohio State point guard D'Angelo Russell over Duke center Jahlil Okafor. He reports that Los Angeles has made all of their assets available if they can acquire DeMarcus Cousins from the Kings, and that they are pursuing three-way trade talks for the big man.
• Raptors shopping stars? Kotoch also reports that Toronto GM Masai Ujiri is "actively exploring" trades for All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry, former All-Star shooting guard DeMar DeRozan, and developing young center Jonas Valanciunas. Ujiri reportedly believes his team has peaked and is willing to "blow up" the roster.
• Nikola Milutinov making a first-round push? ESPN's Marc Stein reports that the Partizan Belgrade 7-footer is rising on draft boards and could be selected in the first round.
• Moving on up? Alex Kennedy of BasketballInsiders.com reports that the Hawks (No. 15) and Bucks (No. 17) are among the teams trying to move up in the draft, along with the already heavily-rumored Boston Celtics (Nos. 16, 28). The report lists the Pacers (No. 11) and Thunder (No. 14) as teams that could potentially move down with an interest in adding assets. Kennedy adds that the Pelicans, who have no first-rounder this year, are looking to move into the mid-late first round.
• Sixers looking to cash in on second-rounders. Kennedy also reports that Philadelphia would like to package its second round selections (Nos. 35 and 37) for an additional, back-end first rounder and have discussed the No. 23 pick with Portland.
• Hornets seek shooters. In an interview with SI.com's Chris Mannix, Charlotte head coach Steve Clifford said the team has prioritized shooting this offseason, with Spencer Hawes coming over in the Lance Stephenson trade one step, and the draft potentially another. Clifford called guard prospects Devin Booker (Kentucky) and RJ Hunter (Georgia State) "terrific shooters," but also noted that the Hornets were in search of the "best player" available. Charlotte holds the No. 9 overall pick in Thursday's draft.
• The Lakers worked out Emmanuel Mudiay a second time. RealGM reports, via ESPN's Chad Ford, that the gifted point guard had a second workout with the team last Thursday and had a "much better showing" than the first time, playing live against other prospects. The Lakers hold the No. 2 overall pick.
• Monta Ellis appears to be on his way out of Dallas. ESPN's Chris Broussard has confirmed an earlier Dallas Morning News report that Ellis will opt out of his contract and become a free agent. Broussard reports Indiana and Miami are among the teams interested in the veteran shooting guard. Broussard and ESPN's Tim McMahon wrote in a joint report that Dallas does not intend to re-sign Ellis, but that Ellis' agent wouldn't rule out a potential return. The move frees up significant cap space for the Mavericks, who are expected to be suitors for Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge and have been linked to Clippers center DeAndre Jordan.
• Knicks, Nuggets talking trade? According to Sam Smith of Bulls.com, a potential move sees the Knicks swapping their No. 4 selection for Denver's No. 7 and center Jusuf Nurkic, who impressed as a rookie last season. Denver would theoretically take one of point guards D'Angelo Russell and Emmanuel Mudiay with the fourth pick, which would allow them to deal incumbent star Ty Lawson. The Knicks are rumored to like big men Trey Lyles (Kentucky) and Frank Kaminsky (Wisconsin), both likely to be around at the seventh selection. And of course, Lawson's name has been continually linked to Sacramento, George Karl and DeMarcus Cousins.
• Jazz in the market for a floor leader? Smith also reports that Utah, picking at No. 12, is still "looking for a distributing point guard" despite the presence of past first-rounders Trey Burke and Dante Exum on the roster. Smith writes the Jazz believe an upgrade at the position could launch the team into the playoffs.
• Celtics continue to push for DeMarcus Cousins. Greg Dickerson of CSN New England reports that Boston GM Danny Ainge has received multiple no's from the Kings regarding the star big man, but will keep the Celtics in the mix through draft night.
• Are the Kings making everyone available? According to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com, the Kings have "everyone on the table" entering the draft, with DeMarcus Cousins the only name in question. Kings owner Vivek Ranadive and vice president Vlade Divac have stayed put publicly that Cousins is not up for trade, although head coach George Karl reportedly feels differently. The list of players potentially available in Sacramento includes small forward Rudy Gay.
• Isaiah Thomas would love to pair up with former Kings teammate Cousins. After the big man posted a photo on Instagram yesterday, captioned "Meanwhile...Good Vibes," likely in reference to the flurry of rumors surrounding him, former teammate and current Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas left Cousins a noteworthy comment. "If they don't want u. I know who does lol." It's not the subtlest of moves from Thomas and would appear to corroborate talk of Boston's heavy interest in the All-Star center.
• DeMarcus Cousins's agent prefers the Lakers. According to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com: "Cousins’ agent, Dan Fegan, would like to steer his client to the Lakers, who can offer Julius Randle and this year’s No. 2 pick — though rival teams doubt the Kings would send Cousins to a division rival. The Knicks are another team on Cousins’ list, but all the Knicks have to offer is the fourth pick (which, bear in mind, can’t officially be dealt until the Knicks use it, since their 2016 first-rounder already has been traded)."
• Kevin Love leaving Cleveland in sign-and-trade? That's what Zach Lowe of Grantland reports. Lowe says executives around the league believe that's the most likely outcome for the Cavs star this summer.
• Monta Ellis is likely to opt out and become free agent. According to Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News, the Mavericks could pursue a big man like LaMarcus Aldridge if their starting SG leaves and frees up cap space.
Monta Ellis likely to opt out of the final year of his contract with the Dallas Mavericks, a source said. Not 100-percent, but close.— Eddie Sefko (@ESefko) June 24, 2015
In midst of DeMarcus saga, Kings showing strong interest in free agent C JaVale McGee, a source said. McGee played for George Karl in Denver— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpearsESPN) June 24, 2015
• Knicks standing pat? It appears Phil Jackson and New York is unwilling to move out of the top 10, barring an incredible offer, according to Michael Scotto of SheridanHoops.com.
As for Mason Plumlee, word at this stage is that Nets unlikely to part with the young center unless deal can net pick in Thursday's lottery— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 24, 2015
• The Nets are continuing to explore trade possibilities for center Mason Plumlee, ESPN's Marc Stein reports.
• The Knicks aren't actively shopping the No. 4 pick but are still listening to offers, team president Phil Jackson told reporters.
• The Knicks brought in Latvian big man Kristaps Porzingis for a private workout on Monday, ESPN's Ian Begley reports.
• The Celtics offered to trade their No. 16 and No. 28 picks and Marcus Smart to the 76ers for Nerlens Noel and the No. 3 pick, Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times reports. The Sixers reportedly rejected the offer.
• The Kings are reportedly looking to trade All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins, with the Lakers emerging as potential suitors. If the Lakers do trade for Cousins, they could give up 2014 first-round pick Julius Randle, Mannix reports.